Direct goal of this project is technology evaluation for production of monocrystalline base of silicone carbide (SiC) and technology of epitaxy of thin gallium nitride (GaN) and graphen layers on the base. The result of evaluated technologies will be material used as a base for manufacturing electronic devices with better and more stable properties.
Achieving this objective is planned by using state-of-the-art design techniques with use of high class manufacturing machines, characteristics and modelling of semi-conductive materials.
Silicon carbide (SiC) is one of the most promising materials for applications in the field of high power and high frequencies electronics. This is due to its unique electrical properties: a wide energy gap, high saturation velocity and high critical breakdown field. In addition, SiC has a high thermal conductivity, high chemical and physical stability as well as high hardness.
All these features make silicon carbide slowly but surely replacing used to date materials such as silicon (Si), germanium (Ge), gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium nitride (GaN) and indium phosphide (InP), wherever the price of the material is still a secondary aspect in relation to the price of the device, such as radar, high powerlasers, high efficiency LEDs, pressure and gas sensors operating at elevated temperatures and elements of the transmitters circuits of hybrid engines.
One of the main barriers to wider use of SiC is its low quality and high price. The high price of silicon carbide is not due to the availability of this material (SiCpowder is widely used as an abrasive), but of expensive production technology of its monocrystalline form. Currently, the most common technology for producing bulk silicon carbide crystals is crystal growth from the vapor phase. This process takes place at temperatures above 2000 ºC, is time consuming and very unstable. Derived material takes form of discs with a diameter of 2-3 inches and a thickness of 2-4 cm is characterized by the presence of many structural defects, that preclude the usefulness of the resulting SiC to produce functional electronic devices.
Preparation of monocrystalline SiC substrates is not the only barrier to the production of modern high power and high frequencies. electronic devices, No less important role in the development of such devices play a thin epitaxial layerson SiC substrate. Currently conducted trials aim at obtaining a thin layer of gallium nitride(GaN) and graphene on SiC. Especially in the case of graphene global technology is at a preliminary stage, and numerous research works reveal the unique properties of this material. It should be noted however, that there is no sound theoretical basis to enable conducting well thought experiments leading to the development of efficient production technology.
The presented project aims at developing the production technology of materials for high power and high frequencies electronics. A comprehensive solution will be possible by exploiting the potential consortium, established to further the project in the areas of numerical design, implementation, technology and characterization.
An innovative solution leading to the optimization of this technology will be the application of modern design methods based on numerical calculation. Using computer modeling will provide a solid theoretical foundations of conducted processes and understanding of the phenomena of SiC single crystal and epitaxial layers growth . It will also enable identification and control of the process factors detrimental to the properties of obtained material.
Calculations will be conducted and verified on an ongoing basis through the implementation of technological trials based on the guidelines as a result of these calculations. As an indispensable tool for forming a bridge between numerical design and technology, the structure and properties of materials characterization will provide an information about process of growth and its associated phenomena.
The project will be implemented by a consortium of three research units: Warsaw University of Technology, Institute of Electronic Materials Technology and Warsaw University. Each of the Consortium partners is a specialist in selected areas of research and technology, has the experience and test equipment necessary to carry out the tasks leading to the realization of the project.
It should be noted that implementation of the technology developed in the project in semiconductor manufacturing based on SiC does not require large financial outlays. Only increasing the scale of production is likely to require costly investments . This creates a perfect base for implementation of project results through the creation of the company's spin-off. Both PW and ITME have proven experience in creating this type of company. (see section 2.2. Feasibility Study -The status after the completion of the project).
Due to the large and strongly growing demand for materials based on monocrystalline silicon carbide and great interest in technology of making such materials It is also possible that the results of the project, will be made available to interested companies on a commercial basis. (eg. Comsecore, TOPSIL).
Obviously, by the assumption of two independent deployment scenarios the likelihood of project commercial success is greatly increased
Described project relates to high-tech materials that are hallmark of development based on knowledge. Implementation of the project and the implementation of its results will contribute to increasing the competitiveness of Polish enterprises in the field of high power electronic devices. The assumptions of this project fit into the guidelines set out in the strategic document of the Ministry of Economy - A strategy for the electronics industry by 2010 from the October 2006. One of the guidelines aim is to increase the competitiveness of the electronics industry in terms of operating on common market in the EU. Thematic concept is also consistent with priority lines of research established by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, to which among others include: new materials and technologies (including materials for electronics and optoelectronics .), which currently are analyzed by the National Foresight Programme Poland 2020.
It should be noted that the project complies with all of the objectives of Priority Axis 1 OP, which include:
It should be emphasized that the project has direct and indirect, positive impact on the environment, both during implementation and after completion. Its complexity requires implementation of numerical modeling methods which in turn allow to dramatically reduce the number of experimental trials, and thereby reducing electrical energy consumption and environment pollution that always accompanies such activities. Furthermore, it should be noted that the production technology of SiC, due to the used substrates, in contrast to other semiconductor manufacturing technologies (eg. GaAs), is much less harmful to the environment. With their high energy efficiency semiconductors based on SiC can reduce emissions of environmentally harmful gases by 20 million tonnes per year in the future.
The success of the proposed project will enable Europe to maintain the pace of development of SiC-based technology , consistent with the rate imposed by the main U.S. manufacturers competitors, namely the Japanese, Korean and Chinese companies.